Imagine not being able to talk about or share your grief with others, especially when one of the ways to heal from a loss is by sharing your story.  Depending on the relationship and the family dynamics, sharing a loss is not always possible.  Some partners in non-traditional relationships may feel disconnected from other mourners.

When a partner dies we may assume the partner is in charge of the funeral arrangements and is a part of the family grieving process, but this is not always the case.  I am not going to debate the “who is in charge scenario”.  I am going to address the grief component of the partner, no matter how this partner is viewed by others or who the partner is.

The grief experienced by a partner who is not accepted or allowed to grieve and express their loss with others can be magnified and more disturbing.  The injustice, unfairness, disbelief or the fact no one knows about this partner can cause great distress for the silent griever.

The term disenfranchised grief is used to describe grief not able to be shared with others.  Morally, who are we to decide who is acceptable enough to be validated as a griever in any particular situation?

For the individual who is the silent griever, you have a human right to grieve.  Seek support systems away from those who do not acknowledge your grief.  Speak with individuals on a crisis line if necessary.  Most important, do not disenfranchise yourself from the grief process.

“Although our world is full of suffering,

it is full also of the overcoming of it.”

Helen Keller


All my best,

Barbara Saunders

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